2012 most certainly did not deliver all that I’d hoped for or imagined. But then again, neither had the handful of years previous. It’s tough when you have a vision, a dream, a calling – something you’ve waited on, worked for, have been promised ‘delays’ in it’s arrival. Actually, it’s in the waiting that perseverance and endurance are shaped and faith tested to be proved genuine. [“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 & “… though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed…” 1 Peter 1:6,7]
It’s also the place where hope is fulfilled, deferred or held on to. Hope will not disappoint. I was thinking about this again today. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 NLT. I need to do a bible study on the tree of life, yep, I decided that today too. I think though, in the last couple of years, that I’ve learned something possibly important about hope deferred.
Hope does not defer itself.
….. Pause/Selah/time-out/think about it….
No, we defer hope. Hope brings hope, not sickness, so certainly it does not defer itself. God doesn’t defer hope either. He knows the plans He has for us; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV. We do it. When the promised is delayed, held up, hindered, detoured, forgotten, unseen, etc. etc., when we’re tired, worn and weary; we can give up. We can give up on the dream, the promise, the hope. WE do it. Then, a glimpse of a glimmer of hope appears, and something once again inside comes alive – that would be God stepping in.
But in all truth, it really is up to us to hang on to the hope of the promised. Hope is found in the ONE we believe in. For me, it’s my history with Him that keeps me from completely throwing in the towel. I still get tired, and then I question… oops.. can’t go there. The ‘did I hear that right?’ ‘Did God really say…?’ ‘Was that a false prophecy?” “If this is true, then why is the EXACT OPPOSITE happening?” Sound familiar? So I’ve learned over time to combat the questions quickly with the Truth. 1. God is not a liar. 2. God is a God of Covenant. Covenants are serious business with God. 3. God is Good… ALWAYS. 4. His ways are not our ways, and they are perfect and just. 5. God is always right on time. Today, Soon, etc., does not always mean before this 24 hours is up, soon could be years.. and so on. God’s timing is perfect. 6. He always shows up with a deposit of Himself – a word, and encounter, a whisper, a vision or dream – and with it hope for one more day.
But when we give up, hopelessness creeps in. And the more attention it gets, the more overwhelming it becomes, and harder is the fight to rise up again in faith. And here at the end of 2012, the days seemed to drag out, and yet disappeared with alarming speed, and as the days grew shorter and darker so did my energy, stamina and even joy. Of course, we don’t get to this state of being by ourselves. “Life Happens”. We get stomped on; tragedies interrupt; illnesses knock us off our feet; family disappoints… need I go on? And yet, ahh.. just before Christmas’s arrival, so also comes the lengthening of days; just seconds at first, until a couple of weeks go by and here it’s 5pm and it’s still daylight. A glimmer of hope. Someone hands you a gift you never expected, or says just what you needed to hear. The stars of the winter night gleam as if they had just been born. A door cracks open.. hope is on the way.
Hang on to hope. It will not disappoint. Do not set it aside. Do not throw it away. Don’t hide it in the closet somewhere. Do not let it go. Yet know what and who it is that you hope in/for. 🙂 And know this.. from Romans 5: “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” NIV
We’ve now crossed the next threshold into a fresh new year. New beginnings. New hope. New life. All things made new. New things released. Take a deep breath, and grab a hold of hope once again. Funny, I thought I was going to write about New Years resolutions, and for the second time, nope. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe these writings are defining the new resolutions…
Until we meet again…